A few weeks ago, I was asked to review a newly released book (some of you may have heard of it!), entitled: 'The Keepers of Elenath'. I'm also privileged to be in contact with author, Amanda Bradburn, and she was willing to do an interview for me. :) I hope you enjoy it! (My review of TKOE is after the interview...)
1. What began your love for fantasy? My love of fantasy began when, in 2001, I watched the movie The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings. I was totally sold on fantasy!
2. When did you have the idea for ‘The Keepers of Elenath’? Hm… It’s been a long time. I think I was probably about 13 when ideas for my own fantasy book began to come together. :)
3. How did you begin your novel? What was the first thing that you sat down and wrote? Whoa… well, that was seven years ago or so… So let me think a moment. I would say that I began with a story of Gwaeron that didn’t make it into the book. :) It was about her taking over her brother’s army. That idea didn’t pan out too well, so I gave it up.
4. How do you enjoy writing fantasy? Is there anything about it that you would ‘warn’ future fantasy writers? :) I love writing fantasy! LOVE it! It’s full of such creative license. I would warn future fantasy writers of this: don’t try to write another Lord of the Rings or Chronicles of Narnia. Come up with your own, unique twists and ideas. Never copy another’s ideas. :)
5. Was your family very much involved in your writing? They were more involved in the editing part, as well as being my sounding board. My mom especially helped me! She’s the best! :)
6. Where/How did you come up with the names of the places and characters? Names are fun because sometimes you have to really think and look hard for a name that fits your character. When I “look” for names for something, they’re generally found in Scrabble games, anagrams, other languages (especially Koine, Greek and Latin).
7. How did you find the time to write? You sound like a very busy young lady, but still, you were a able to accomplish writing a full-length novel! Tell us about how you disciplined yourself in your writing. There’s always time for something that you want to do, and I can multitask fairly well. I write on the rare occasion that I get to watch a movie, for example. :) And I’ve begun to forget what 8 hours of sleep looks like. :) What’s sleep, anyway, when you’ve got a world to create?! *laughs*
8. What were/are some books/movies that inspired you to write ‘The Keepers of Elenath’? Well, The Fellowship of the Ring, definitely. Wayne Thomas Batson’s The Door Within and Bryan Davis’s Dragons in our Midst are always inspiring, too.
9. Were there ever times during your novel writing, that you didn’t feel like you were ‘in the mood’ to write fantasy? What were some ways that you would get back into the right mood? Definitely! I find that when I read or write a lot of one genre, it shows up in my books. To get really excited again about fantasy, I need to have a chat with creative people, read a fantasy book (preferably one I haven’t read before) or watch a fantasy movie. Works every time!
10. Have you ever tried writing any other genres? Historical fiction, perhaps? Maybe some contemporary stories? I have, indeed! I actually began writing when I was seven, and back then I wrote mysteries like Nancy Drew and the Boxcar Children. After that I wrote an adventure book about wild cats. I also have plans for at least two historical fiction books and a children’s fantasy novel. :) I’m super excited about all of them!!
11. What is a piece of advice that you would give to all pursuing, amateur authors? I have lots of advice! I think that I talk way too much when I give advice, so I’ll keep it simple. :) Writing isn’t easy. As you get older (I’m now in college) it gets harder to find time for it. Remember, though. If God gave you the gift of writing and you think He wants you to be published, NEVER give up. If you want more advice, email me! :) (email@example.com)
Wasn't that encouraging, people?!?!
And now, for my review... :) heehee
‘The Keepers of Elenath’ is one of the first fantasy books that I have read…besides The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings (and I haven’t even read all the books of the latter series mentioned – though I have seen all the movies). I have never been a very big ‘fantasy freak’. I guess because most of the fantasy out there – and that I have been exposed to, isn’t very exciting or…if this is a term – ‘real fantasy’. There’s a difference between ‘real fantasy’ and ‘unbelievable fantasy’. Amanda Bradburn captured the ‘real fantasy’ in her first novel beautifully! I started reading her book a couple weeks ago, and got about ¼ of the way through before I had to put it down because of other things I was reading…and just being oober busy! But then, today, I sat back down and was like, ‘I really need to finish reading this!’ and…I couldn’t put it down. :) I wondered how I ever could before!
Amanda has a great way of capturing your attention and not dragging you through tons and tons of descriptions. THAT is one thing that I look for (and love, when I do find it!) in authors. Do they take you through long paths of describing every single detail in the room when all you really need to worry about are the two hooded men in the corner? Sometimes you *do* need to describe – don’t get me wrong! But there are certain ways that you can do that without making your reader feel bored. I can’t count how many times I have just skimmed over a few pages of a book because the author goes on and on about every little detail – details that really *aren’t* details, because you don’t *need* to know them! But anyway…Amanda doesn’t do that. ;)
Fantasy names aren’t very hard to come up with, but I think Amanda did a good job with her characters’ names. And the names of places too! And there were JUST enough to not make you jumble them together and forget which was which, who was who, etc.
Also, I absolutely LOVED how Amanda intertwined the Biblical story of Jesus’ death and resurrection into the story! It was amazing and she did it SO well.
All in all…I would recommend this book to anyone (at least, over 13)!! Even if you don’t like fantasy…I think you’ll love this book.